Title

Museum Demographics: Food for Thought

Description/Abstract/Artist Statement

According to Cynthia Robinson’s article, “Into the Future: Adult Professional Groups and the 21st Century Museum,” the majority of museum visitors are over the age of 50, white and female. This statistic rings true even for museums situated on college campuses, surrounded by young adults. The Barry Art Museum (BAM) at Old Dominion University is no exception. Moreover, the institution’s demographic data reveal that most of its visitors are over the age of 50, and white, despite a younger and more diverse student body. I set out a research agenda to find out why that is, and to guide museum policy to become more attractive to younger people. I created a poll for my peers to answer on social media, asking “what makes you want to visit a place.” The responses were overwhelming food related. As an intern at the Barry Art Museum in the Summer of 2021, I designed a project with the goal of attracting young adults to the museum, and paying homage to the museums founder, Carolyn Barry, and her passion for cooking. In general, I advocate for more eclectic – and frankly food related – events alongside the traditional exhibition, but I also organized a BAM Cookbook. The BAM Cookbook is a compilation of recipes inspired by artwork found within the BAM. This paper will present the data from my questionnaire, some possible new directions for culinary innovation at museums, and potential economic opportunities for museums in creating food and art related content, such as the BAM Cookbook.

Presenting Author Name/s

Kayla Cochran

Faculty Advisor/Mentor

Jared Benton

College Affiliation

College of Arts & Letters

Presentation Type

Oral Presentation

Disciplines

Museum Studies

Session Title

Art History 1: The Art of Transformation

Location

Zoom

Start Date

3-19-2022 1:00 PM

End Date

3-19-2022 2:00 PM

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Mar 19th, 1:00 PM Mar 19th, 2:00 PM

Museum Demographics: Food for Thought

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According to Cynthia Robinson’s article, “Into the Future: Adult Professional Groups and the 21st Century Museum,” the majority of museum visitors are over the age of 50, white and female. This statistic rings true even for museums situated on college campuses, surrounded by young adults. The Barry Art Museum (BAM) at Old Dominion University is no exception. Moreover, the institution’s demographic data reveal that most of its visitors are over the age of 50, and white, despite a younger and more diverse student body. I set out a research agenda to find out why that is, and to guide museum policy to become more attractive to younger people. I created a poll for my peers to answer on social media, asking “what makes you want to visit a place.” The responses were overwhelming food related. As an intern at the Barry Art Museum in the Summer of 2021, I designed a project with the goal of attracting young adults to the museum, and paying homage to the museums founder, Carolyn Barry, and her passion for cooking. In general, I advocate for more eclectic – and frankly food related – events alongside the traditional exhibition, but I also organized a BAM Cookbook. The BAM Cookbook is a compilation of recipes inspired by artwork found within the BAM. This paper will present the data from my questionnaire, some possible new directions for culinary innovation at museums, and potential economic opportunities for museums in creating food and art related content, such as the BAM Cookbook.